Women suffering from pelvic floor disorders—the most common of which is urinary incontinence—often fail to receive appropriate treatment for their condition. As a result, they frequently give up participating in favorite activities, exercise, and travel. Self-esteem and intimacy suffer, and many lapse into depression or are reluctant to leave their homes.
With women living longer beyond menopause than ever before, pelvic floor disorders demand serious attention from healthcare providers. Schneck Medical Center offers comprehensive and compassionate care for women suffering from incontinence.
Schneck’s Women’s Pelvic Health Program draws on the expertise of specialists in women’s health, urogynecology, and urology. This collaboration of experts from various specialties is important because pelvic floor dysfunctions often have a shared pathophysiology. A single structural defect in the pelvic floor, for example, can be responsible for dysfunction of the bladder, bowel and even genital tract. Moreover, the multidisciplinary arrangement eliminates the inconvenience and emotional stress of seeking out providers in multiple locations.
Age, obesity, and childbirth are common risk factors for incontinence. Other risk factors include hysterectomy, vaginal surgery, lung disease, smoking, and pelvic radiation.
Schneck’s Women’s Pelvic Health Program takes advantage of the most up-to-date diagnostic services and tools, among them pelvic ultrasound, genitourinary radiology, and cystoscopy for examination of the bladder and urethra.
When more sophisticated testing is required, specialists use multi-channel urodynamics to measure bladder function, and dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for the evaluation of the urogenital compartment and pelvic floor organs.
Education empowers women to gain control over their bladders. Many women find they can obtain a measure of relief by decreasing or eliminating certain beverages or foods from their diets. The program will offer computerized biofeedback, pelvic floor retraining, dietary and behavior modification, and more. Supervised biofeedback and exercise can often bring relief by strengthening pelvic floor and anal muscles. For incontinence cases requiring surgery, program physicians use the latest minimally invasive procedures.
Pelvic floor disorders frequently go untreated
A recent study found that nearly one in four women age 20 years and older suffers from some form of pelvic floor disorder. The prevalence of pelvic floor disorders increases with age. The authors of the study found that the ratio of women reporting at least one disorder rises from nearly one in 10 for those ages 20 to 39 years, to nearly one in two for those 80 years and older. Many women, out of shame or embarrassment, do not seek medical attention for pelvic floor disorders. Those who do are sometimes wrongly told that incontinence is a normal if inconvenient part of the aging process, with little remedy.
For more information on the Women’s Pelvic Health Program at Schneck or to make an appointment, contact Melanie McGlothlin, WHNP-BC, Women’s Pelvic Health Program coordinator, at 812-522-0587.